A masterclass in marketing from the Globe Theatre

I recently spent an amazing few days in London as a tourist. This is unusual for me as most of the time I spend in London is business and work related. It felt good to meander around and not be on a tight schedule and full of stress. The reason for the big city excursion was a trip to the Globe Theatre - which was a Christmas gift from my husband. So we spent all day on the Saturday enjoying: A backstage tour of the theatre, afternoon tea in the Swan (the Globe's restaurant with fantastic views to St Paul's Cathedral, entrance into the museum, and a performance of Julius Ceasar.

I was in heaven. The weather was beautiful, the views across the river were spectacular, the theatre performance was spellbinding (despite the slightly uncomfortable benches you have to sit on - Elizabethan theatre goers were not big on comfort).

Naturally while there, I spent some time in the gift shop, and had a good look round at their marketing materials and considered their ethos, commitment and how they delivered their multifaceted offering. And quite honestly I think their marketing and communications is nothing short of extraordinary. Here's what I learned:

1. They really know and understand their target customers

It's very clear that this knowledge is not just a vague idea' of who their customers are - they know them inside out, upside down and back again. How do I know? You can see it everywhere. In the language they use, the type of merchandise they have on sale and the price points.

2. They make it clear how much they appreciate every penny you spend with them

The Globe gets no subsidies or grants from the Arts Council - which means they have fund everything they do themselves. But they're not greedy about it. For example; they sell a glossy programme for the backstage tour for £1 (compared to say £10 for the last programme I saw on sale at a West End Show). Because their price point is a £1, everybody, and I mean everybody I saw, buys one. All the things in the gift shop are tasteful (with some whimsy thrown in for good measure), and not ruinously expensive. It made me think back to my last visit to a Cirque du Soleil show, where they charge £49.00 for a standard branded T-shirt. At the Globe it's a tenner. So of course, because no-one feels like they are being fleeced, people were happy to spend their money. And when you buy, they tell you what the money will be spent on. This makes the customer feel like they're part of something special.

3. The entertainment is not just about the play

It's not just about the play you've bought tickets for. From the moment you step inside the gate there's all kinds of fun stuff going on. Strolling minstrels on lutes, actors in costume carrying scenery and props through the crowd, people in Elizabethan costumes posing for pictures - the smell of hog roasts and all kinds of food kiosks wafting their evocative smells across the inner courtyard. It's a spectacle from start to finish.

4. Subtle upselling and cross-selling

Everywhere you go while on the premises are subtle reminders of all the great things they have going on, and of course there's plenty of people on hand to help you and guide you through to a point of purchase (but not it pushy way).

5. Making the customer feel involved

As I mentioned earlier, the customer is made to feel part of everything. They've somehow managed to remove the 'us and them' barrier. The end result is that I felt thoroughly entertained, and felt that every penny I spent was worthwhile.

The real marketing genius in this experience is:

  • They know what their customer wants and they make sure they get it.
  • The customer feels involved.
  • Everything is moderately priced, so you feel compelled to spend more.
  • And of course the plays are fabulous.

If you've not been, I can heartily recommend it. http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/

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